Love, Family

5 Kid-Friendly 'Date Night' Ideas For Single Parents

single mom and daughter with bubbles

Are you a single parent? Too often, the mental stresses of our work day get the better of us. Coupled with the fact that we have to pull double duty of being a mom and a dad, our mental capacity to cope runs thin. Then, pile on school activities and the emotional support our kids need from us, our days expire faster than minutes and soon, January becomes May.

Yes, a lot has been said about single parents needing a break and having "me" time. But I offer a slightly different perspective — our kids can be a reason and a motivation to de-stress.

One of the best ways to blow off steam is to do something childish or silly. It is an escape from reality and it brings a new perspective to our stress-shrouded days. What better excuse to be silly and act like a kid than our kids. Below are five fun-filled and childish date night ideas that you can do with your kids to remind you that inside, we are all still kids:

1. Play a game of laser tag. You can act out your fantasy of being a secret agent or hunt your kids down to get them to … eat their vegetables. Whatever the reason, going into an imaginary world of make believe is what kids do well to escape reality. As parents, we can learn from our kids to do the same.

2. Go bowling. Need to release your aggression? Why not do it by throwing, um, I mean bowling a ten pound ball down an alley at ten pins. You can bowl the ball as hard as you want and watching those pins fly can be a bit freeing.

3. Go sledding. It is well researched that exercise is better than taking antidepressant medication. With sledding you get a nice amount of exercise walking up the hill and the added bonus of a freeing feeling when you're flying down the hill. Cap it off with a relaxing time afterwards by drinking a cup of hot chocolate. 

4. Go to the movies. This is a great way to escape from the day-to-day routines of being a single parent. You can make the date special by creating a routine when you go — a little popcorn and a cup of soda — then sit back, watch the movie and escape. When the movie is over, you have a great topic you can talk about with your kids.

5. Try something totally new. One time, I took my son to an archery range to learn how to shoot with a bow and arrow. Another time, I took him to a shooting range to teach both of us gun safety and give us the experience of shooting a pistol. Trying something new diverts our mental energy which providing a stress relief. And it's also a common experience that can help build or deepen your parent-child bond.

Sure, at times we single parents do need "me" time. But if you're also trying to relieve stress, you can use your kids as an excuse to act silly and do something fun. And it has a triple benefit of helping you manage your emotional state, be something that brings you closer to your kids, and remind you of your inner child.